Every other month people start asking Dana about network TV deals, and normally he says they’re working on things. This time he’s just come out and basically said “Fuck Network TV!”
“(We are) not very close (to a network TV deal) now with this market like this- The networks are so strong, they pretty much tell you the deal that they’re going to give you whether you like it or not. We don’t need it. We built this company without the help of anybody- We don’t need help from anybody at the end of the day. If somebody wants to do the right deal with us, we’ll do it with them. Spike did. So we’re on Spike TV. Believe me, I’m happy as hell to be on Spike TV. We can stay there forever. I could care less.”
I’m sure Dana is happy with Spike, but he’d be happier with a network. Why? Just look at the numbers EliteXC managed to pull on CBS. Look at the numbers Strikeforce is pulling at 3 freaking AM on NBC. The big networks are the big networks because they naturally pull big numbers. Way bigger numbers than Spike will ever dream of. Hell, the ‘huge numbers’ EliteXC was pulling were pretty much the same as CBS would have gotten showing CSI re-runs.
There is no doubt in my mind that the UFC would absolutely smash the numbers EliteXC got if they ended up on network TV. And of course with the bigger numbers you get higher exposure which means the sport becomes much bigger overnight and you’re gonna see more revenue coming into the company. So I’m calling bullshit on Dana White’s statement that he couldn’t care less. While I’m down with him waiting for the right deal, let’s not pretend that the sport can take things to the next level without the networks.